Fabric count, is defined as "the number of ends (warp yarns) and picks (filling/weft yarns) counted per inch in a woven fabric" (Source - Dictionary of Fiber and Textile Technology).
- The fabric count is written as "number of ends x number of picks." For example, count for a fabric with 72 ends per inch and 66 picks per inch is written as
"72 x 66" and read as "72 by 66." Fabric count is typically measured for basic weaves.
- Although yarn count is often reported in inches in the United States,
internationally it may be reported as 25mm, or 2.5cm.
Thread Count is defined as "the number of ends (warp yarns) and picks (filling/weft yarns) counted per inch in a woven fabric. For example: a 180 thread count sheet may have 90 warp yarns in one inch and 90 fill/weft yarns in one inch. The two numbers are added together to give the total thread count per inch" (Source - Dictionary of Fiber and Textile Technology).
Thread count is often specified for bed linen.
- Plain weave cotton and cotton blend sheeting is generally referred to either as muslin (lower thread count) or percale (higher thread count). A higher count reflects higher quality as only finer combed yarns can be used to produce fabrics with high counts. Quality sheets generally have a thread count of 200 or higher.
- Satin, satin stripe and other jacquard weave fabrics are also used to manufacture bed linen. The larger number of interlacings of warp and filling yarns in these fabrics enables production of fabrics that are smoother and have a higher thread count than plain woven fabrics.
- Some sheets have thread counts of 400 or higher. The primary reason for extremely high count is
the perception among consumers that the higher the count the better the
quality of the sheets. Fabric count higher than 400 may not indicate
higher quality. For example:
- To achieve very high counts, some manufacturers use 2-ply yarns and double the actual count as
they count each strand as a yarn. This practice is regarded as a
deceptive practice by the Federal Trade Commission
here for details).
- Very high counts may result in stiff fabrics. Moreover, the durability of the fabric may also be affected by high counts, especially in cotton satin and satin stripe sheets. Note: Durability is important for bed linen used in the hospitality industry as the linen is industrially washed and used frequently.
- Yarn fineness is important for cotton and cotton blends as higher counts could be produced only by using finer, higher quality yarns. Higher count sheets produced with microfiber filament yarns do not reflect quality.
Count can be measured using a variety of devices, ranging from an electronic
yarn counter to a manual "linen tester." Special fabric preparation or
techniques may be required to measure the count of tightly woven plain weave
fabrics, as well as twill and satin weave fabrics.